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A New Digital Resource for Historians of Islamic Art and Culture: The Islamic Manuscripts of the Walters Art Museum

With the help of a Preservation and Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and with additional funding from an anonymous donor, the Walters is pleased to announce the completion of its program to create digital surrogates of its collection of Islamic manuscripts and single leaves. All the data is licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 UnportedAccess Rights,http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. Images are free for any noncommercial use, provided you follow the terms of the license. There is no need to apply to the Walters prior to using the images.

Highlights of the collection include a fifteenth-century Timurid Qur’an (Ms. W.563); a late seventeenth-century copy of the Book on Navigation by Piri Reis (Ms. W.658); and a sixteenth-century de luxe Mughal manuscript of Amir Khusrau Dhilavi’s Khamsa (Ms. W.624).  As you will see, images were taken of all parts of the manuscript, including the binding, fore-edge, and spine.  Text pages were imaged at 600 dpi; illuminated pages were taken at up to 1200 dpi.  The manuscripts have been catalogued by Adam Gacek (Principal Cataloguer) and Amy Landau. The details are as follows.

The data is up at:

http://www.thedigitalwalters.org/

The general ReadMe file is at:

http://www.thedigitalwalters.org/03_ReadMe.html

The technical ReadMe file is at:

http://www.thedigitalwalters.org/04_TechnicalReadMe.html

The easiest way to access the raw data is at:

http://www.thedigitalwalters.org/01_ACCESS_WALTERS_MANUSCRIPTS.html

As you will see, the Islamic Manuscripts are fully catalogued in XML according to  TEI P5 guidelines. You will see English, German, Dutch, Armenian, Byzantine, and Ethiopian Manuscripts up there as well, but these have not yet been fully catalogued, so don’t expect any TEI for them yet: we are in the middle of that process.

Obviously, although this is our core data, this presentation of the material is not primarily for the general public.  We have two main portals for user-friendly derivatives of our data.  All our illustrated pages we post on Flickr, for which check out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/medmss/sets/

We also publish full PDFs for download of all our manuscripts on the Walters Website:  For example:

http://art.thewalters.org/viewwoa.aspx?id=23935

Just under the title of the manuscript, you will see that you can download the PDF. The PDF begins with a full human readable catalogue description of the manuscript, transformed as part of the PDF from the TEI XML.

We do hope that this resource will prove useful to you in your work and play.  We would be grateful if you would let your colleagues know about it. If you administer a list-serve, than we would be grateful if you would let your readers know about it.

We would also be most grateful for your feedback, and to hear any questions you may have. Please contact us at mss-curator@thewalters.org.

Thank you very much

William Noel

Amy Landau